hi-ipac-cvi-forensic-report

This forensic audit raised questions about IPAC-CO2. The RCMP has now launched a formal investigation into how taxpayers money was spent. (CBC)

CBC's iTeam has learned that the RCMP has launched a formal investigation into financial dealings at the International Performance Assessment Centre for the Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide.

The RCMP has confirmed it moved from an initial probe to a full investigation in early August.

The agency, which was known as IPAC-CO2, was a research project aimed at establishing international standards for the capture and underground storage of carbon dioxide.

Earlier this year, CBC's iTeam reported a series of stories raising questions about how taxpayers money was spent.

The two men running IPAC were also on the board of directors of its largest supplier. That company was hired in a sole-sourced "handshake" agreement to run IPAC's computer system. There was no written contract.

The supplier would eventually bill IPAC $2.1 million for software and IT services.

A new management team at IPAC discovered the issue. In a note to the board, it said "the greatest part of the $2.1 million dollars was spent for no acceptable business reason."

Saskatchewan's New Democratic Party opposition responded to the CBC stories by launching a complaint with the RCMP.

Now, the RCMP has decided to investigate for possible fraud and breach of trust. It has given no indication how long its investigation may take.

No charges have been laid.